SSE Enterprise Telecoms’ multi-phase connectivity project is bringing best-in-class connectivity to vital public services across the city centre and wider region
LONDON, UK, 14 DECEMBER 2020 – SSE Enterprise Telecoms, one of the UK’s leading connectivity providers, today announces the delivery of gigabit-capable connectivity to 22 public sector sites, including priority NHS and education facilities in the area. This project is part of SSE Enterprise Telecoms’ wider drive to create better infrastructure across the UK to futureproof digital ambitions while improving the connectivity of local public sector organisations and businesses.
SSE Enterprise Telecoms was awarded the Dark Fibre project for Aberdeenshire Council, NHS Grampian and Aberdeen City Council in March 2020. The project spans 275km across the Aberdeenshire region and is being rolled out in stages from now, throughout 2021, and into 2022. It will help to deliver improved public services to key public sector locations in a number of towns around Aberdeen city.
The project comes under the banner of the Aberdeen City Region Deal (ACRD) which is part of a funding allocation designed to improve the region’s digital infrastructure, key to the long-term future of the local economy. Funding from the ACRD provides the opportunity to create a sustainable digital infrastructure from which the region can transform into a world-class digital area.
SSE Enterprise Telecoms has delivered the first phase of the project on time and on budget, despite the added difficulties posed by COVID-19. This segment is one of six implementation stages connecting 190 public sector sites across the Aberdeenshire region in total. The initial batch of 22 sites will benefit from full fibre connectivity once lit by a WAN provider. This is critically important in the current environment, where more organisations are having to work remotely and are reliant on robust, secure connectivity to keep people connected and ensure the smooth running of operations.
High-speed, high capacity connectivity is particularly crucial for education and healthcare organisations during these difficult times. Institutions such as Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Royal Cornhill Hospital, Woodend Hospital and Summerfield House will all be the beneficiaries of gigabit-capable connectivity.
In addition, SSE Enterprise Telecoms will further invest in the infrastructure and offer capacity and services to mobile operators and internet service providers. This will increase service availability and speeds for residents and businesses in Aberdeenshire, who will no longer be reliant on the sole incumbent, bringing more competitive pricing to the county.
As well as network benefits, multiple community benefits are being delivered with the project, including five apprenticeships across local schools in the area. One apprentice from Alford Academy is already in place and working on SSE Enterprise Telecoms’ Programme Team, plus three other apprentices are in situ through its sub-contractor, C-Plan, supporting field and project activities.
Sector Director for Public Sector at SSE Enterprise Telecoms, Martin Samuel said: “This project will bring best-in-class connectivity to the region, during a time when it’s most needed and will help to futureproof the area for years to come.
As a trusted partner in rolling out and managing critical national public sector telecoms infrastructure, SSE Enterprise Telecoms was brought on board by Aberdeenshire Council in March 2020. And despite the challenges that COVID-19 has posed, working in partnership with the Aberdeenshire team, we’ve been able to successfully deliver the first phase of the project – on time and on budget. We’re also well on track to deliver 41 sites, just out from the city centre, as part of segment two by Spring 2021.
We are delighted with the supportive partnership we have jointly established with Aberdeenshire and look forward to continuing to deliver this key infrastructure for the digital enablement of the region.”
Aberdeenshire Council leader, Councillor Andy Kille, said: “Any steps taken towards better connectivity for Aberdeenshire are hugely welcome and we all back the work taken to roll out this vital part of the City Region Deal project. The benefits of access to better digital services will have a lasting economic impact and will make a difference to businesses in Aberdeenshire. This will, in turn, benefit the people of Aberdeenshire more generally.”
Councillor Jenny Laing, Chair of the Aberdeen City Region Deal, said: “Digital connectivity is even more important now, with more people working from home due to the pandemic. With the first segment being completed, this is a huge achievement for the City Region Deal. This project will make a difference to the service availability and speeds for residents and businesses in the region.”
Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, said: “I am pleased to see the progress of this enabling digital project. By connecting Aberdeenshire Council sites to the fibre, it will improve the delivery of some of our vital public services such as education, health and transport. All of this will contribute to the Scottish Government’s mission to drive a sustainable and economic recovery for the region.
The Scottish Government is a full partner in the Aberdeen City Region Deal, contributing £125 million over 10 years. The investment in this project through the Deal will contribute to the region’s economic recovery by creating jobs, and providing the commercial infrastructure to support and attract businesses to Aberdeen and the surrounding areas.”
UK Government Minister, Iain Stewart, said: “The installation of gigabit-capable networks will deliver a significant speed boost for the region and greatly benefit businesses, public services and households.
The UK Government is supporting the rollout of faster broadband both through its City Region Deal investment and also through its Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme.
We recently announced we were teaming up with the Scottish Government’s Broadband voucher scheme to provide up to £8,500 for businesses and up to £6,500 for homes to get connected, and I encourage everyone eligible to take advantage of this.”